Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH (RNA) has bought the startup Hofmann & Stirner Zuführsysteme GmbH, which specializes in digital feeding system technology. With the takeover of Hofmann & Stirner, RNA has secured know-how in the field of simulation software and artificial intelligence.
Hofmann & Stirner Zuführsysteme GmbH was founded in 2016 by the two machine builders Dr. Daniel Hofmann and Florian Stirner, who right from the beginning, concentrated on the digitization of feeding system technology and the simulation-based design of sorting chicaneries (tooling) in feeding systems. Today the company develops and builds feeding systems with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and precise multi-physics simulation. This enables the company to fully simulate the customer’s workpieces to be fed and thus the complete feeding system on the computer before the feeding system is built. In addition, the AI accesses a database of workpiece geometries and feeding system solutions and is therefore able to calculate a suitable proposed solution in real time. “The merger of the two companies opens up new opportunities to combine AI with decades of experience of the market leader RNA. The data from over 50,000 built RNA feeding systems are available to further develop and expand the AI from Hofmann & Stirner." states Daniel Hofmann, managing director of Hofmann & Stirner GmbH. "Via the feasibility, simulation and after-sales, we map everything completely digitally and can improve feeding systems with our digital twin and AI." adds fellow managing director Florian Stirner. With the help of AI, the workpieces are simulated and the corresponding sorting is digitally generated. "This means that we and our customers know right from the start of a project whether a workpiece can be fed and what the corresponding feeding system should look like," says Jack Grevenstein, technical managing director of Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH. “We are thus able to generate a complete digital twin of our feeding system. The feeding systems created digitally are machine-made and are therefore fully documented and reproducible. The use of digital technology in conjunction with modern manufacturing processes reduces the throughput times for building these systems.” says Jack Grevenstein.
Hofmann & Stirner Zuführsysteme GmbH will be renamed RNA Digital Solutions GmbH after the takeover has been completed. RNA will bundle its entire digital know-how under the new subsidiary RNA Digital Solutions, under which the IoT ConnectBox with the associated IoT platform will also be located in the future. RNA Digital Solutions will drive the further development of software and AI and in the long term also offer digital solutions to other customers outside of feeding systems technology. In addition, RNA will set up its own digital production area, which will sell feeding systems under the new brand RNA Digital Feeding, which are developed and built with the help of AI.
“With the merger of Hofmann & Stirner and RNA, we are creating a company that is also geared towards digital feeding systems technology and are expanding our market leadership as RNA. Thanks to the software and the associated SaaS platform, we will be able to digitally save our knowledge of feeding systems technology in the future and call up feeding systems systems solutions at the push of a button.” states Christopher Pavel, managing partner of Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH. “The AI and simulation will support us in the future in the development of our feeding systems solutions and thereby our customers. Our new digital business model will revolutionize feeding systems technology and the market. With Hofmann & Stirner we have the unique opportunity to partially reinvent ourselves.” adds Christopher Pavel.
RNA has already invested heavily in 3D printing and IoT solutions in recent years. With the takeover of the digital technology leader Hofmann & Stirner, RNA is further expanding its product range and know-how and is driving forward its developments in the field of digitization.
About Hofmann & Stirner
Hofmann & Stirner Zuführsysteme GmbH is a startup in the field of digital mechanical engineering & AI. The company has developed simulation processes to digitally map automated feeding processes. In addition, the startup is a leader in the field of geometric deep learning, with which empirical knowledge can be represented in the AI. Hofmann & Stirner offers its technology as a software-as-a-service model on the feeding systems technology platform www.designforfeeding.com. In 2018, the tech start-up successfully concluded a seed financing round (EUR 1m) with the High-Tech Gründerfonds in Bonn and a Bavarian family office.
Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH (RNA), market leader in the field of feeding systems technology, is a traditional family owned company with headquarters in Aachen and eight production sites worldwide. With over 400 employees and an international dealer network, the RNA Group supports and looks after its customers worldwide. For many decades, the name RNA has stood for top performance in terms of technology, quality and reliability. The core competence of RNA is the correctly aligned feeding of workpieces into the automation process. The two business areas are the development and production of complete, tailor-made feeding systems and their components. At the same time, the continuous improvement and innovation process always has priority. In this way, RNA can sort even complicated parts at high speed and in large quantities and feed them into the production process.
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